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England's shock victory a tale of courage and effort


Paul Ackford at Murrayfield

Scotland 6 England 13

White out … Scotland's Jim Hamilton brings down the ball.

White out … Scotland's Jim Hamilton brings down the ball. Photo: Reuters

EDINBURGH: Remarkable. Quite remarkable. In a match that England had no right to win, they did just that, condemning Scotland and coach Andy Robinson to the most miserable of inquests. Quite what this says about the state of international rugby, I'm not sure, because by all the indicators England didn't have a sniff.

They lacked experience, they lacked time together and they lacked any sort of clout, but they ignored all of that and produced a performance of real courage and effort. Chris Robshaw, Captain Courageous who drove his team to glory, must believe all his birthdays have come at once.

And let no one say that England didn't deserve this. Yes, Scotland were awful, unable for the umpteenth time to fashion a try from a bucketload of chances, and yes there will be stiffer examinations to come.

Alex Corbisiero of England is tackled by Allan Jacobsen. Click for more photos

England win Calcutta Cup

New-look England claim first win under new coach Stuart Lancaster and captain Chris Robshaw. Photo: Getty Images

But England showed glimpses of class and they showed that they have all the heart in the world. This was a victory for bravery and obstinacy as much as anything. It was also a victory for a very nice man, England coach Stuart Lancaster.

Several England men stood out. After a shaky start, Charlie Hodgson came through to tease and taunt. Alex Corbisiero had a mighty game in and around the dark, forbidding areas. The midfield duo of Brad Barritt and Owen Farrell stood firm. And Mouritz Botha and Tom Croft were warriors to their fingertips.

There was nothing remotely constructive about the way either side went about their business in the first period. The lineouts were messy, scrums were not decisive as both teams found it impossible to stitch enough phases together to break down well-organised defences. As a study in skill and technique, it left a lot to be desired.

But it was compelling, principally because the score was always tight and because there was the very real possibility of someone making a mistake to change the match.

The first half ended 6-3 to the Scots, and they just about deserved the advantage because of Chris Cusiter, who fought for every loose ball, and for relative newcomers Ross Rennie and Dave Denton, who caused England defensive problems whenever they got in behind the first tackler.

If Parks's kicking out of hand had been just a little bit better than execrable, Scotland might have worried England even more.

Parks's afternoon went from bad to worse 29 seconds into the second half when his delayed clearance kick was charged down by Hodgson. As Hodgson reacted quickly to touch down, Parks cut a forlorn figure, hands on knees, head staring down into the turf.

It was the try the game needed because both sides realised this was a match on a table for the team that sought adventure and risk.

As the game entered its final and decisive quarter, Scotland cranked up the heat. Ashton did well to snuff out an attack, and then Greig Laidlaw, on for Parks, just failed to touch down after kicking ahead. It went up to the Television Match Official for a decision but Nigel Whitehouse ruled - correctly - that Laidlaw had failed to ground the ball properly.

Scotland came again. Minutes later Rennie broke free only to fail to find Mike Blair screaming up on his left shoulder. Those two minutes are Scotland's problems of a lifetime. With a glut of possession, an increase in tempo, and a prolonged spell in England's 22, they were incapable of making the decisive move. England's defence scrambled remarkably well but Scotland should have turned the contest their way.

And that was the way it finished.

No one quite knows what will happen next. Exciting times lie ahead for England followers.

Telegraph, London

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 5 Stats
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45Leicester City Stadium
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00Leicester City Stadium
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 97 13
Wales 3 3 0 0 58 13
England 3 1 2 0 1 6
Fiji 3 0 3 0 -49 0
Uruguay 2 0 2 0 -107 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 3 2 1 0 56 11
Scotland 3 2 1 0 40 10
Japan 3 2 1 0 -12 8
Samoa 3 1 2 0 -52 4
USA 2 0 2 0 -32 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 87 14
Tonga 2 1 1 0 7 6
Argentina 2 1 1 0 35 5
Georgia 3 1 2 0 -71 4
Namibia 2 0 2 0 -58 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 3 3 0 0 72 14
Ireland 2 2 0 0 77 10
Italy 2 1 1 0 -17 4
Canada 3 0 3 0 -71 1
Romania 2 0 2 0 -61 0
View all

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